South African poultry producers, led by the country’s largest, Rainbow Chicken, are calling for protection from cheap imports as profits for domestic producers continue to drop.
Rainbow Chicken recently reported a 94% drop in annual profit, with net income dropping to 16.7 million rand ($1.6 million) in the 12 months ended June from 266.8 million rand. Even the acquisition of food manufacturer and distributor Foodcorp in May could not revive the deficit.
“Rainbow has experienced an extremely difficult year with high import volumes and record feed input decimating margins,” the company said in a statement. “The poultry industry is at crisis point and anti-dumping protection is key to the survival of the industry.”
Rivals Afgri and Astral Foods also announced lower than expected earnings. Afgri forecast year-end earnings to fall as much as 34%. The drops have been attributed to government delays in addressing more import tariffs and antidumping initiatives.
The South African Poultry Association has asked the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa to raise duties to as much as 82% from the current 5-27% range. It claims imports of some poultry cuts from Brazil and Europe are hurting the local industry and may lead to as many as 20,000 job losses. The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters, a local meat-trading lobby group, says increasing duties will drive up food costs for local consumers.